Visions of Peace

Some congregations may prefer to focus this service on visions of peace rather than on working against gun violence, depending on the demographics and culture of the congregation. This page includes thoughts from members of the CUAGV organizing group that may be helpful for such congregations.

"As a grandmother of two young children, and as a retired minister who is working as Pastor of Children & Families at Westwood United Methodist Church in Los Angeles, I am thrilled that this website is offering ways for changing our gun culture. I want so badly for people to know that not all Christians participate in “gun-toting-in-the-name-of-Jesus,” but are instead led by Jesus to work mightily for community action to help stop gun violence. In gathering together, we are stronger, wiser, and forceful. And our influence on society can be compelling. Breathe peace, my friends!" - Rev. Dr. Diana Holbert, Pastor of Children and Families at Westwood United Methodist Church, Los Angeles

"About two years ago, I created a separate notebook page in my journal that read boldly "TEACH PEACE." It was a loud invitation to myself to record ways I could teach peace as a mother, pastor, community organizer, and educator. I jotted down a few ideas, but then nothing. The page was left mostly blank for months. I have another page in the same notebook that reads, "How to Build Community." That page is full and has spilled over to another page. It occurred to me: I teach peace by building community. Mother Teresa reminds us that community and peace are forever intertwined when she wrote, “If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.” We belong to each other: the gun owner, the peace activist, the child at school, the first responder, the lonely teenager, and even the preacher. We belong to each other. Build community. Teach Peace." -Rev. Abby Henrich, pastor at Grace Community Boston and Stratford Street United Church and part of the Progressive Sacred podcast

"I am delighted to be part of this project. Whether your congregation focuses its service on working against gun violence or on the need to create peace within ourselves and among our communities, we all benefit from cultivating practices of peace and learning how to engage in disagreement peacefully. Jesus, like the prophets before him, envisioned a peaceful world in which all people treated their neighbors as they would want to be treated. Our society is bathed in fear. If we strive to choose love and peace over fear, we will begin to change individual hearts and the larger culture. May peace bless you all." - Dr. Amanda Udis-Kessler, award-winning and published sacred music composer, hymnwriter, lay preacher and liturgist